Urban poverty reduction through municipal solid waste management (MSWM) : a case study of Maseru and Maputsoe in Lesotho.
Mvuma, Godfrey Ganizani Kwantha.
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The study was designed to generate data and information necessary for designing an appropriate sustainable solid waste management system, and examining the socio-economic benefits of urban municipal so lid waste management through job creation opportunities (albeit mainly informal) in Lesotho. The review of literature on the integrated solid waste management systems at international, regional and local levels in relation to job creation was carried out with a view to establish the necessity of carrying out this research. In addition, specific solid waste management experiences and practices in other countries have been cited. In Lesotho, investors and donors have, for long expressed the need for formulation of solid waste management policy and guidelines formulated in the country in order to create an enabling environment for investment. However, the process of preparing policy and guidelines requires substantial data and information. This study supplemented this effort by gathering data and information. The data and information gathered were on the existing policies and regulatory framework concerning waste management; waste generation rates, types and quantity from domestic, industrial and commercial establishments; recycling activities; and the waste harvesting (scavenging) activities. The study was undertaken in Maseru and Maputsoe, being the hub of commercial and industrial activities in the country. The data and information may also be useful to other SADC countries From the results of the study, it has been concluded that in Lesotho, paper was the most commonly generated waste in all the categories: domestic, industrial and commercial establishments. Plastic was the second category of the most commonly generated waste, which was followed by organic waste, and then, beverage cans. The study established that the weighted average household generation rate for the surveyed areas was: 0.13 Kg per capita day-I. In the same findings, it occurred that overall, households contribution to waste generation in the surveyed areas ranked second to commercial establishments despite their low per capita, in comparison with industrial establishments. The study has further concluded that out of an estimated total quantity of 157552 tonnes per annum of waste generated in Maseru, commercial establishments contributed 82%, while households contribute 15% and industrial establishments 3%. Households generated more waste than industries because they were in large numbers and hence contributed more than fewer industries. It has also been established that the household waste generation is dependent on incomes ofthese households, but had poor relationship with regard to the number of persons per household. To this effect, it was seen that high-income households generated more waste than low-income. The study further showed that where the municipal council offered waste collection service, not all recipients paid for this service. However, there was a general willingness- to- pay for the waste collection service by all sectors, on condition that there was an improvement in the offering of this service; and if made available where currently not offered. Furthermore, there was a general indication of affordability for these services up to a certain amount (albeit minimal) per different sectors. On the other hand, the information collected strongly indicated the need to invest more in solid waste management if this would be a means of employment creation and improvement of the environment. On the overall, the study revealed that there was a low level of awareness on waste related policy and regulatory instruments, and fragmented legal framework on waste management in Lesotho. The study also established that currently, solid waste as an informal sector generated an estimated profit of MO.7rnillion per annum from waste recycling related activities and that this informal sector generated about 282 jobs. In addition to these benefits, the question of solid waste as a source of biomass energy was another beneficial route in Lesotho. It has been established that the combustible organic waste was highly sought after as a source of energy for cooking and heating. However, besides the benefits, these activities also gave rise to some adverse impacts. The waste harvesters expressed that their health had been negatively impacted upon by the waste scavenging activities. Needless to suggest that there would be a need by the government to intervene in this problem by formalising these waste harvesting activities. It is hoped that this study would serve as a reservoiur for the source of data and information and for Lesotho and that other countries in the SADC Region shall fmd this document a useful tool.